Rahm hopes Garcia's LIV switch won't tarnish legacy

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Rahm hopes Garcia's LIV switch won't tarnish legacy
Garcia made the switch to LIV Golf
Garcia made the switch to LIV Golf
Reuters
Former U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm (28) said he hopes compatriot Sergio Garcia's legacy will not be tarnished by his decision to join the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series.

Spaniard Garcia, who has 16 wins on the DP World Tour and has been on the winning European team six times in 10 Ryder Cup appearances, was one of the first golfers to join LIV earlier this year.

When asked if Garcia's switch to the Saudi-backed series could affect the former Masters champion's legacy, Rahm told reporters, "I hope not".

"I think to the core fans who have been fans of Sergio, I don't think they care, really, where he plays," added Rahm, speaking ahead of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

"It still shouldn't change what he's done in the game, what he's done in The Ryder Cup, European Tour, PGA Tour, shouldn't be affected by where he decides to play golf, at least in my mind.

"It could have somewhat of an impact. I have a hard time believing a lot of those players are going to have a positive impact with their legacy right now ... He's done a lot for the game of golf, so it would be sad to see that change."

Rahm also heaped praise on world number one Rory McIlroy, who has been one of LIV Golf's fiercest critics.

"It's great to see somebody with his platform to take a stand as he did, whether you agree with it or not, he's taken a stand on what he believes in and that's it," Rahm said.

"He's had a lot of input. He's been on the board of the PGA Tour and tried to make a change."

Critics say LIV Golf, which is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, amounts to "sportswashing" by a nation trying to improve its reputation in the face of criticism over its human rights record.